Voting with Your Dollars


There’s a quote from Alice Walker that I really appreciate. It says, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” I like this quote so much that we have actually put it into our material at the end of each Bootstraps session.

I think one way that we frequently give up our power is by not paying attention to how we use our financial resources.  When we get so absorbed by the demands of life, our long list of “to-do’s” and myriad other distractions, or we fall into unhealthy routines that help us maintain some semblance of sanity – we can spend our money in ways that don’t always align with our values. And in that fashion, we slowly allow our power to leave our hands – or we forget that the power is there at all.

I’m reminded with the coming elections that, while there might be many broken or inefficient parts to our system, we still have the opportunity to have our voice heard through our votes – in essence we can claim our “power” on election day, at least in some small degree. We can take a stand and make our voice heard.  And while it might feel small, one vote among the millions, it can have an enormous impact.

I believe the same thing can be said of how we use our pennies, nickels, and dimes. How we use our time, our money and our energy.

I know it’s the holiday season – and once the season begins, it can take on a life of its own (which we talked about in our last blog). But for the next few weeks, as you go through this election process and have a moment to reflect upon your power – stop and take a look at where you use your resources and ask if you are really supporting your goals and values with the way you spend your time, money and energy.

In case you aren’t doing it right now, or you’ve forgotten, or stopped – take ownership of “The Spending Moment,” that moment when you are getting ready to allow your money to willfully leave your possession. One thing you can do is to stop at the moment of purchase and ask for that receipt – maybe even start the receipt exercise** again. But most importantly, take the time to acknowledge that you are participating in the process, you are engaging in the transaction, allowing your money to be used on something that you agree to the value of, and in that moment – taking back your power.

** To review or work on the receipt exercise, go here.